Roman ruins, Pompeii

Roman ruins, Pompeii

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Credit: PASQUALE SORRENTINO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Roman ruins. View over the excavated ruins of the Villa of the Mysteries in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, Italy. In the first century AD Pompeii was a flourishing coastal resort populated by wealthy Romans. It was decimated in AD 79 by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius (in background at right) that covered the city in wet ashes and cinders. Many buildings and other structures were well preserved and have been revealed by a series of excavations. One of the rooms inside the Villa of Mysteries contains large colourful frescoes that depict a woman undergoing an initiation rite.

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